One of the most popular one day trips near Barcelona is Montserrat, a very peculiar mountain range which bears a top altitude of 1,200 meters (St. Jeroni Peak, 1,236 mts). A very proper name for this mountain, Its name in catalan means jagged mountain which completely resembles the funny shapes of the peaks.
The curvy-like stones are product of a geological process that ocurred millions of years ago when all this region was a delta. The erosion caused by the water shaped the stone into an intricate array of caves, peaks and cracks, many resembling animals like the famous peak called “The elephant”.
The history of Montserrat
Montserrat is also a very popular name for girls in Catalonia, and is the name given to their patron saint. This mountain site was the place chosen to build the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat, home to the Virgin of the same name, popularly known as “La Moreneta” or the Black Madonna.
It is believed that the wooden-carved statue turned to dark after the effect of the varnish after time. Legends state that in 880, shepherds saw a light coming down from heaven at this place, and this vision ocurred again several times. The local Bishop in Olesa, the nearby town, organized an expedition and the holy image of the Virgin was found in a cave.
Apparently the holy image was so heavy that the Bishop interpreted that the Virgin wanted to stay there, so he ordered the construction of a chapel. The monastery would be built years after, although its origins are uncertain. It’s possible to get a quick look of “La Moreneta” inside the Monastery, but expect long queues.
Montserrat combines very different activities, while it’s a pilgrimage destination for many believers, it’s also a very popular spot for climbers and hikers. Many hiking trails connect the top peaks from the Monastery and the base of the mountain, although there is also a different way to wander around.
In addition to a great deal of walking routes that lead to spectacular observation sites (on a clear day it’s possible to get a glimpse of Barcelona, which is 50 kilometes away), from the Monastery there are two Funicular tramways, the Sant Joan Funicular that reaches the top of cliff overlooking the Monastery and the Santa Cova Funicular that decends into a sanctuary.
Activities in Montserrat
There are several exciting ways of discovering the area such as taking a helicopter tour and flying over the whole mountain range, as well as other Barcelona monuments. If you prefer a quiet ride, you can book a Half Day Trip or combine a visit to the basilica with a Hiking Tour in Montserrat Natural Park.
Besides the beautiful Benedictine Monastery, which by the way has one of the oldest conservatory and children choirs in Europe, there is The Library of Montserrat, exceeding in over 300,000 volumes and the Museum of Montserrat, displaying works by El Greco, Picasso and Dalí.
How to get to Montserrat:
Take the metro to Espanya using L1 or L3, then change for the FGC Railway to S4 Line. If you wish to get there by Funicular Tramway, stop at station Monistrol de Montserrat for transfer. The following all inclusive ticket includes metro, return train to Montserrat from Plaza España, as well as unlimited use of the Sant Joan and Santa Cova Funicular.
Buy Montserrat Tickets All Included
Map of the Area
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